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Motor City Homestead » Blog Archive » The Circle of Life at the MCH

The Circle of Life at the MCH

So, big news at the Motor City Homestead.  We had another litter of bunnies on Sunday, but there were only 5, and one of them was stillborn.  I really think that Princess is just getting too old.  She was a couple years old when we got her, and we’ve had her for a year and a half . . . so that puts her at probably 5 or so, which is pretty much the limit for a rabbit to breed.  This will be her last litter, and we’ll save a female from the litter to start breeding in spring.  Not sure what to do with the mama.  That’s a conversation for another time.  For now, she has a couple of months to raise this litter, and then we’ll decide what to do.  Anyone looking for a gigantic, friendly rabbit for a pet?

 In other news, Runt, the flying chicken has passed on to the great chicken coop in the sky.  A few days ago I noticed her standing huddled in the corner of the run instead of running around scratching like a ’normal’ chicken.  She was still eating, just lethargic - so I figured I would just watch her for a day or two.  Well, on Tuesday I went out in the morning and noticed that her crop was GIGANTIC - like the size of a softball.  First thing in the morning, the crop should be empty.  A chicken’s crop is a sack where they store food.  From there, it moves to the gizzard, where it is ground up.

Crop

If the crop gets packed full of food, or obstructed in some way, the chicken’s food and water doesn’t get passed to their digestive system.  In addition, the food stuck in the crop starts to spoil, so that adds bacterial and viral complications as well.

When I squeezed Runt’s crop, it wasn’t hard like a compaction.  It felt like a water balloon.  And sure enough, when I squeezed a little bit more, she started to throw up copious amounts of foul smelling water with bits of food in it.  Not a good sign.  I squeezed everything out of the crop, and squirted vegetable oil down her throat, hoping that it was just simple obstruction and some lube would get everything moving again.  Honestly, I wasn’t too hopeful, because she was pretty weak at that point.  I also gave her water with a little bit of vinegar in it to counteract any bacterial build-up in her crop, and bread soaked in olive oil - again just hoping to get everything moving.

Yesterday morning showed now change.  Her crop was again full of food and water, meaning nothing had moved through in the night.  I repeated the above treatement, and called my dad for any additional ideas.  He said that if the crop wasn’t impacted, there’s the possibility that the obstruction was further down her digestive tract, which is big trouble.  And, big trouble it was.  When I got home from work yesterday, Runt was dead.  My only regret is that I didn’t catch it sooner.  The treatment might have worked if given another day or two - and if it didn’t work, I could have at least put her out of her misery sooner.  Bummer. 

54 Responses to “The Circle of Life at the MCH”

  1. mrs. varney-crawford Says:

    oohh - so sorry. i lost 2 girls last year with the same lethargic symptoms but didn’t know about checking their crops. i just found them sitting in their nestbox like a stuffed chicken. thanks for the diagnostic info, even though you had to experience it.
    blessings,

  2. Ryan Says:

    Pssst… Nate. You may get more offers for Princess, your mama bunny, if you just said, “friendly rabbit” rather than “GIGANTIC, friendly rabbit.”

    I, for one, am frightened. Even if she is “friendly.”

  3. Nate Says:

    My thought was that if someone was interested, when they came to see her they would think, “Oh, she’s not THAT gigantic.” As opposed to someone expecting a cute little bunny, and instead seeing a fur covered throw pillow.

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